COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. - WINK News got an inside look at the controversial Collier-Hogan oil well. The well sits on three acres of land about 30 miles east of I75. On the site is a four-foot layer of crushed limestone, beneath that is an impermeable plastic liner that could catch oil in the event of a leak and beneath that is three miles of pipe.
"In terms of how much oil is actually down there, the reserve potential is huge. Absolutely huge," said Kristin Kremers petroleum landman with the Dan A. Hughes Company.
On the other side of the site are six tanks. They can hold 25 hundred barrels of oil. Executives with the company tell us they've spent $25 million dollars on the site. Last week, the company temporarily closed the well, saying it was a business decision. It was the same day the Florida Department of Environmental Protection announced it was suing the company for not following a list of demands after alleged fracking-like activity at the well.
"We've heard it called fracking like, acid fracking, matrix fracking," said Kremers. "We've heard it called all kinds of different things. The truth is we've tried to tell everyone what we've done, we acidized. That has been done hundreds, thousands of times in the state of Florida. We acidized, then we followed it with sand."
The company claims the DEP was on-site during the acidization, that it was the second time the company acidized at the well.
"They have made us look like criminals," said Kremers.
In a statement released to Wink News the DEP said, "The enhanced extraction procedure utilized by the Dan A. Hughes Company -- the use of acid (dissolving solution) at the proposed pressure, combined with the use of a proppant - we are not aware of ever having been used in Florida."
Company leaders say the DEP is singling them out trying to get them out of the state.
"I've never seen a situation when a regulator refuses to communicate with the regulated entity other than press releases and media opportunities," said David Blackmon, a consultant with Dan A. Hughes. "It doesn't help protect the environment, it doesn't help people in the area, and its very disappointing to see."
Blackmon says each oil well in the area would have brought in 50 jobs and had a significant economic impact in the area.
"The unfortunate part of this situation is its basically a lost opportunity for the region," said Blackmon.
The Dan A. Hughes company has 21 days to respond to the state's lawsuit.